The Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the St. Louis Bandits advanced their respective Robertson Cup Playoffs divisional finals series with wins in their best-of-five semifinals series on Friday night.
The Ice Dogs, the West Division regular-season champions, completed their three-game sweep over the Kenai River Brown Bears with a 5-2 victory. Austin Block recorded a hat trick in the win, and Jared Larson added two assists. In goal, Joe Phillippi turned aside 33 shots.
"The games against Kenai were closer than the scores indicated," said Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge. "We were fortunate to get great goaltending all series and we played well within our systems. "
Keith Kinkaid stopped all 22 shots as the Bandits, the South Division and the NAHL’s regular-season champions, blanked the Springfield Jr. Blues, 3-0, to win their series 3 games to 1. Sorren Jonzzon notched two of St. Louis' goals, and Anthany Schooley added the other.
"You have to give Springfield a lot of credit, they were very tough to play against,” said Bandits head coach Jeff Brown. “When it’s all said and done in the playoffs, your best players have to be your best players and Keith Kinkaid is our best player. I think he proved it in this tight series."
In the divisional finals, the Ice Dogs will play the winner of the Wenatchee Wild-Alaska Avalanche semifinals series (the Wild leads, 2 games to 1), and the Bandits will play the winner of the Topeka RoadRunners-Wichita Falls Wildcats series (the RoadRunners lead, 2 games to 1).
Both of those teams are good hockey teams and whoever it will be will be an incredible challenge once again."